Narisetti quits Washington Post for Wall Street Journal

Raju Narisetti has resigned as Washington Post managing editor and to become Wall Street Journal Digital Network managing editor. || Read the Dow Jones press release.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING IN THE POST NEWSROOM (EMAIL FROM AN INSIDER):

An actual quote from somebody who despises him: “Ding dong the witch is dead.”

[Narisetti] is not a beloved figure in the newsroom, at least among those he did not hire. There is a feeling among old-timers and younger staff members with backgrounds in print that he has sullied the brand with many of his ideas and initiatives.

You can short-hand all of his sins/crimes against our journalism and brand as ‘dancing bears.’

“Other highlights would include the implementation of Methode, our universally despised new CMS, which he brought in, and this.

I welcome the departing managing editor’s response, of course, and comments from other people at the Post. Email me, or post in comments.

(Note: WP’s Paul Farhi was quoted on my site yesterday and I know some people will think I turned to him again for his observations. They’re wrong; this is not from Farhi.)

From 2010: Post writers and editors expect Narisetti to be a short-timer

UPDATE: This email comes from a former WSJ employee who didn’t want to be named:

I worked for more than a decade at Dow Jones and WSJ combined, and I am a huge fan of Narisetti. The fact that he is returning to WSJ actually makes me (at least briefly) sorry not to be there anymore — though this is not a reflection on Kevin Delaney, of whom I am also a fan.

Raju is a smart, thoughtful, energetic presence. I can’t speak for an entire organization, but I suspect his return will be widely welcomed in the WSJ newsroom. I can certainly vouch for a handful of former colleagues who have worked directly with or under Raju and like and respect him as much as I do. (It sounds like perhaps the folks at WaPo are struggling — as are journalists everywhere — with the pace of change and the huge questions hanging over the future of newspapers — and Raju has taken the brunt of the resulting resentment).

THE FAREWELL MEMO:

Date: Friday, January 20, 2012
Subject: Staff Announcement: Raju Narisetti re-joins the Wall Street Journal
To: NEWS – All Newsroom

To the Staff:

I am sorry to announce that Raju Narisetti is resigning as Managing Editor of The Washington Post, effective Feb. 1. He will be moving to New York to re-join the Wall Street Journal.

Raju has accomplished much in the three years since he came to the Post from Mint, a business newspaper and website he founded in India. He was closely involved in the redesign of our print edition in 2009; oversaw the selection and installation of Methode, the content-management system we use to edit and produce our news products; and has taken a leading role in the integration of our print and digital staffs and operations.

But that understates dramatically his role. Raju has helped to build an extravagantly talented digital team and provided much of the vision and strategy that enabled The Post to become one of the most innovative and
successful digital-news operations anywhere.

The evidence is in the numbers: The Post’s online traffic has risen sharply in the last two years, with our page views in December up 45% from a year earlier, the number of visitors to our site up 14%, and the time each visitor spends on our site more than double what it was a year ago (according to comScore) – making 2011 our best year ever. We are a leader in the use of social media for delivering news and drawing readers to our site. Our video traffic has tripled in the last two years and our mobile visits doubled in the last year.

One of Raju’s signal successes, though, has been that these accomplishments aren’t his alone, but are the result of the inspiration and genius of many people. He has ensured we have the best engagement and social-media experts, the best SEO team, the best digital designers, and a newsroom capable of adapting rapidly to the fast-changing habits of our fast-growing audience. We have, in short, the people, the technology, the journalism, the metabolism and the creative spirit to build on our successes. And we will ensure that we remain focused; those people who have been reporting to Raju will for now report to me.

We will miss Raju greatly, and nobody will miss him more than I, having worked with him over a dozen years, first at the Journal and more recently here.

Please join me in wishing him every success and thanking him for his many invaluable contributions to The Post.

Marcus

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1 comment
  1. As an online Washington Post employee, I’m pretty convinced that there is one, maybe two exceedingly grumpy veteran Posties who have been longtime sources for media reporters and bloggers and use those contacts to blare out these compendiums of digital failings whenever it’s tangentially relevant. Probably the same person who found it necessary to denigrate a video reporter we brought in to Fishbowl D.C. in the most misogynistic terms possible.

    Sorry, Crotchety Veteran Print Scribe, but if The Post doesn’t keep trying new things — a good number of which will fail, occasionally in spectacular flameouts — the company’s as good as dead. Our flagging print circulation is not going to go back up. Period. — 30 –